I had never heard of the Ed Keating Center until July 2010, when I made a friend who was a resident at the Center. I saw all the support he received, and I thought that if the men could be so kind and loving to one another, maybe there was hope for me, a woman with my own drinking problem. In late October 2010 I started attending meetings and functions at the Center, and I met Katie Potter and learned about the Jean Marie House.
A few weeks later on November 24, it was the night before Thanksgiving and no one in my family wanted me with them for the holiday. But I was welcomed by the women at Jean Marie House. I went there scared and alone, walking away from everything I knew. It was the best decision of my life. God brought me to that house and to AA. The staff, facilitators and women I lived with believed in me when no one else did. For the next 9 months, they taught me how to love myself, how to pray, and what recovery was. I would never trade the relationships I have built in that house and the blessings I have witnessed.
“I went there scared and alone, walking away from everything I knew. It was the best decision of my life.”
After completing the program, I continued to feel their support. Marty, Kati and Paige made sure that when I moved into my own home my kids would have beds to sleep in and food to eat. Even to this day, I know if I need anything, I can call. They are always there with encouraging words when I feel weak, and today I call them my friends!
The Jean Marie House taught me how to be a mother, daughter, sister and friend.
I ‘caught a case’ in October 2008 and faced two years in prison. I spent 90 days in county jail where I had my son, and then I was off to Marysville. There I attended every meeting and church group and did everything I could to keep my mind in a positive place. While at Marysville, I found a God of my understanding and thought about what I would do with my life when I left prison. How would I maintain my sobriety and sanity? Where would I go? I didn’t want to go home and get the same results I always had.
I was released from prison January 23, 2011 and was sent to a women?s crisis center, but that place was not right for me. Then God spoke to me through a woman who knew that after 18 years of addiction, I needed to be shown a better way by people who had been where I had been and spoke from the heart. She told me about Jean Marie House, and they had a bed for me! Feb. 14, 2011 was the first day of the rest of my new life! I saw people working the steps and living the promises. I had never had any of these things before because I was searching in all the wrong places.
“I saw people working the steps and living the promises. I had never had any of these things before because I was searching in all the wrong places.”
I got busy right away! I did what was asked of me and more. I went to meetings, worked the steps, made coffee, and got a sponsor. I attended GED classes, got a job, my license, a car! I never missed a parole appointment. I became a real mother, daughter, niece, and friend. The promises were coming true! I kept a commitment and completed nine months at Jean Marie.
Today I am three years sober and have my own house to live in. Thank you, Jean Marie House and Ed Keating Center. I couldn’t have done it without you! You taught me to be independent and step out in faith and trust God. They say that when you are ready the teacher will appear, and for me Jean Marie House was the teacher. I love you all!
I was without a drink for three months when I walked into the Ed Keating Center. The only reason I went there was because I had nowhere else to go. I thought I had something on everyone there. But I was welcomed with good cheer and included in friendly conversation. Soon I realized I had a new, safe place that I called home.
I was there less than a week when I had what I think was a spiritual awakening. I had a sense of peace and a feeling of happiness for the first time since I was a child. I will never forget that morning. I now felt that I would stick with this chance that seemed to be working for others and hopefully not return to my horrid past. The Keating Center was teaching me about alcoholism and telling me that I could become a better, more useful human being. It turns out that the education that I received has helped me stay sober for nearly eight years as I write these words.
“I was there less than a week when I had what I think was a spiritual awakening. I had a sense of peace and a feeling of happiness for the first time since I was a child.”
There were times while I was at the Center when I got tired of hearing the same thing over and over again from the volunteer group leaders. Today, however, I cannot count the ways what I learned there has benefitted me throughout my sobriety. I know now that God put me there in The Rock to be part of a lifesaving fellowship, to go to the required AA meeting per day, to have the one-on-ones with Phyllis, to hear the experience, strength and hope from Mr. Kiley and hundreds of other speakers.
There are numerous other reasons and ways the Keating Center has changed my life as both a resident there and afterwards. It was certainly more than just a roof over my head. It was an adventure into my new-found sober living. I am eternally grateful.